Getting started with cuttings
Multiplication of your “favourite plants” can either take place by means of seed growing or by taking cuttings. The advantage of cuttings is that the genus of the plant is known.
Rockwool propagating blocks (2×2 and 4x4cm) make an excellent medium for cuttings. Submerge the blocks in lukewarm water (20-25 deg C) with a pH value of 5.8 and an EC value of 0.8-1.0ms. Use for example, a nail to make small holes in the rockwool. Do not make the holes too big because the cutting has to be firmly placed into the rockwool block. Put the blocks in a propagator.
Use a sharp scalpel blade to cut strong 8-10cm long shoots from the mother plant. Do not use scissors because this will bruise the stem. Remove the lower leaves and immediately place the cuttings in a bucket of lukewarm water. Roll the lower 1-2cm of the cutting stem through a root hormone powder. Remove excess powder and immediately place the cutting into the propagating block. Make sure that the underside of the cutting is not submerged in the powder. This may cause the channels to clog up as a result of which the cutting will be less capable of absorbing water.
The young cutting has not developed any roots yet and is incapable of transporting sufficient water and nutrition to the leaves. In order to avoid dehydration, the cuttings must be placed in a moist environment (RH80%). To do this, place the cuttings in a strong propagating box with a safe heating element as soon as possible.
You should spray the cuttings daily with lukewarm water (25 deg C), pH value 5.8 and EC 0.8-1.0ms. Make sure that the blocks also remain sufficiently moist by emerging them in nutrient solution.
Not only the humidity, but also the temperature is essential when taking cuttings.
A high air temperature forces the cuttings to grow upwards. All the available nourishment will be used for this purpose while the cutting should be utilising its energy for the development of roots. Bottom heating is therefore essential. The best way for the cuttings to take root is at a bottom temperature of 21-24 deg C. The speed of the root development is very important. The longer the cuttings take to take root, the greater the chance they will not survive.
As the first roots become visible you can gradually increase the EC to 1.5ms.
Pruning is always a traumatic experience for mother plants. Young shoots in which the plant has invested a lot of energy are removed and the mother plants chemical system is thoroughly shaken. Experienced growers know that the yield of the cuttings diminishes over time. It is therefore advisable to grow new mother plants from seed every year.